Advice and Tips

Understanding Wedding Vendor Right Of Refusal

If you’re facing the difficult decision of postponing your wedding, understanding the right of refusal can help you plan ahead with your wedding vendors.

The thought of planning the wedding you have been planning and dreaming of for months and potentially years can feel heartbreaking. This is the reality the couples with 2020 wedding dates are facing in the continued uncertainty of the COVID19 pandemic. There are a number of factors to consider when making the difficult decision to potentially postpone. Plus, there are typically other wedding events such as bridal showers that are also up in the air or going virtual.

Hosts are understandably extremely hesitant to make the decision to postpone their event when its still several months away, and we’re all hoping for a recovery. Especially after so much has gone into the planning, guest logistics, and not to mention the expenses!  However, if you want the option to reschedule if the situation dictates, you need to act now.

Right of First Refusal – Go get it! 

It is very possible there is going to be a major shortage of venue + vendor capacity for all of 2021. There will likely be pent up demand (those that had to reschedule and those that would have naturally occurred in 2021 or Q4 2020) and capacity (event venues and vendors with weekend availability) is not going to increase (and may even decrease in the immediate after math).

Due the uncertainty, there are many hosts on the fence as to whether they should proceed with their event. But, if you want the option of rescheduling if you have to, you need to act now! So what should you do? Well, you should reach out to all of your key vendors and find out what mutual availability they have. Hopefully you’re able to find a few options! But given all the demand, we anticipate you may have some hard choices to make. If you find a date that your key vendors have available, you should request what’s called “right of first refusal”. 

So what exactly is the right of first refusal?

Well, it essentially means that they’re going to let you put a date on hold. That means if you want it, it’s yours. No one else can take it. The best part about (politely!) requesting (and hopefully receiving) first refusal rights? You don’t have to (immediately) give up your current date. So it provides you the option of rescheduling without having to actually reschedule.

In fact, you don’t even have to communicate that you’ve put a hold on an alternative date to your guests! At least not right away. The worst case is that someone contacts your core vendor wanting to put a deposit down on the date for which you have a hold before you’re ready to make a decision.

The “best” case? If you are forced to make the difficult decision to postpone your event a month or 2 from now, you already have a backup date in place with your key vendors.

Why would wedding vendors be willing to do give you the right of first refusal?

Well, one thing to keep in mind is that those in the events industry are in a very difficult situation. Everyone in the events industry has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Their business and jobs were the first to be impacted and theirs will be among the last to recover. In short, they’re going to empathize with your situation (and you should be similarly empathetic with what they’re facing).

More practically speaking, the real constraint facing most vendors in high demand areas is the number of weekends in which they can provide their services. Event venues and high demand vendors know that they are almost certainly going to book up once this pandemic passes. They also know that your event is on the horizon. And, if we were to magically be free of this virus and our confidence in our safety / willingness to travel was restored, they still aren’t going to find someone who is going to be willing (never mind able) to pull off an event in the current timeframe.

Above all else, vendors rely on word of mouth referrals. They know that by providing you with some flexibility in this uncertain time will go a long way.

We hope this encourages you to discuss your options with your vendors!

While it’s certainly an extremely difficult decision whether or not to proceed or postpone your event, knowing you are prepared with a backup date can help ease your stress. Hopefully, you can utilize the right of refusal to your advantage.

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